Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Garret W. DeRuiter


The intent of this paper is to ease the trauma encountered in the difficult transition from novice metalsmith to producing craftsperson. The major areas of discourse are as follows: 1) What is the most beneficial time for mental orientation toward one's career? 2) What actual steps should be taken along with this orientation? 3) How can the artist go about preparing himself financially for the burdens to be encountered in a craft business? 4) What comprise the major forces in the organization of a metalsmithing studio? 5) What kinds of equipment will the artist need to efficiently ply his trade? 6) What might be the most advantageous location for the metalsmith's studio? 7) What role can systems play in the operation of a craft business? 8) There are three major ways of selling: wholesale, retail, and consignment. What are the positive and negative aspects of each and which should the craftsperson employ? 9) What are the various production techniques that are practical for a craftsperson and why should they be used? 10) There are many markets available to the metalsmith. What does each have to offer and how do they all work? 11) How does an independent artist arrive at reasonable and yet profitable prices for his work? What forces will affect his price? 12) What records does a craftsperson need to keep in his operation? How can these records most effectively be kept and what benefits can the records be to the artist? 13) How does an independent go about making the public aware of the service he is offering? 14) How does insurance play a role in an artist's crafts business? What types of insurance does an artist need? 15) There are three basic business structures offered to an artist: sole proprietorship, partnership, and incorporation. What are the characteristics of each form and how will they affect business operation? 16) An artist entering the world of self-employment will encounter many new responsibilities regarding his relationship with local, state, and federal governments. What are some of these new obligations and how can the craftsperson best deal with them? 17) Professional organizations are formed as service groups. What real services do they perform for the artist and how much will it cost?

The author does not attempt to give the artist a step-by-step guide to success. Rather he is offering an overview of what can be considered as necessary background for a professional craftsperson. This paper should be used as an indicator of areas for further research.